Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Patience and Gentleness, Please

Last night was not a great night for electronics. First, I forgot to take The Boy's hearing aids out before he got in the tub. We dodged a bullet on that one, I think - replaced the batteries, blew out any moisture (there was remarkably little), and put them immediately in the drying tub. Second, The Boy fell asleep in our bed watching baseball with me. The little stinker laid down to snuggle and was asleep less than 30 seconds later! He was in pajamas but not his night diaper, and I left him smack in the middle of a pad in the middle of our bed when I went to take my shower. When I came back, he had rolled over to the edge of the bed and peed on my iPhone. That, too, seems to be fine, although the case was soggy. Sigh.

When I moved him into his bed for the night, he stayed asleep, so I left and went back to my room to study music. Unrelated note: I'm auditioning to direct another women's chorus next week, so I wanted to get a head start on the music. About thirty seconds later, he woke up and freaked out. It wasn't enough that I sat in the chair next to the bed; he needed me to wit with him on the bed. This was the course of the next hour and a half; every time I got up, he woke up and needed me. I got really frustrated, and Grandma came over to generously offer to sit with him. I refused, because she had already spent all day with the kids and would be doing so again the next day. I try to be cognizant of her need to rest!

My wife reminded me, later, of why I ultimately stayed and tried to do my best to soothe him. The Boy is not a normal boy, no matter how much improvement and adjustment he's shown over the past several months. He's a damaged baby, with myriad health issues and physical setbacks, myriad mental and social setbacks, and some different emotional needs. He never had the opportunity for normal development and interaction like his brother has had. He went right from newborn status to cancer treatment, which necessitated some extreme measures.

I mean, he's going to be a weird kid. That's not insulting him; his parents are hardly normal. Neither one of us is particularly socially adept, and our lives up through marriage were not simple and easy. We've both struggled with socialization and friendships and an overly large amount of alone time. This doesn't even start to discuss my own personal issues with authority, which have cost me an awful lot of my career. With that stuff already in his genetic code, he's already going to struggle with identity issues and social issues. Throw in this other stuff, and it becomes increasingly difficult.

We've begun reexamining the whole kindergarten thing again. W haven't changed our mind; we're 99.9% sure he's going to start kindergarten he's six instead of five. As per usual with my life decisions, I like to try to rationalize my decision from as many different angles as possible. This boy is a sweet, sensitive, little guy who needs a lot of extra attention and gentleness from his caregivers. I think that putting him in a situation without that kind of care and consideration would be deadly to him and to his spirit! Not to mention: do we want him to be the weird kid AND the youngest and littlest in his class, or do we want him to be one of the older kids and more normal-sized?

He just needs extra attention, extra snuggles, and extra care that, to date, his brother doesn't really require. (It'll be interesting to see what his nest brother will or won't need. Either way, let's just avoid the interesting medical issues, please.) It's easy to offer that he needs that extra attention and patience, and it's easy to get frustrated and angry with him when you're tired and just want to get to sleep. I try to do a good job with it, although I'm as human as anyone else and slip up on a regular basis.

But, lets be honest: if he needs me to sit with him for a couple of hours at night while I do some work and some reading and some music learning, is it really that much of a hardship? That's one of the major reasons why I bought an iPad: I want the convenience of being able to juggle multiple work tasks, music tasks, reading, and entertainment in one ultra-portable package. No skin off of my back, I think.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

1 comment:

Sarah R said...

I think in your situation, the very best decision is to give him another year. After all, another year of a normal life with his parents will probably benefit him a lot in the long run. :)